Personal Bests

  • 04/07 Boston Marathon3:33:22
  • 10/08 Hartford Half Marathon 1:46:23
  • 09/06 New Haven Road Race 20K 1:36:47
  • 08/04 Deary 5-M Road Race - my 1st race ever 39:37
  • 11/06 VMG 5K 21:05
  • 07/06 Boombox Mile 6:12

Breaking The Tape

Upcoming Races 2010

Stay Tuned!

MCM 2009 – Strategies and Analysis

One of the great things about running a marathon is the lessons to be learned once the sweat has been wiped away and the muscle soreness has subsided. Now that I can navigate the stairs again without crying, it’s time to take a deeper look at my race.

Pre-existing Condition(s)

It’s been two and a half years since I’ve run a marathon. Since then, I’ve been taking classes, changing careers, adjusting to new schedules, missing yoga, sleeping less, eating worse, gaining five pounds and have felt perpetually stressed out. This combination has created a less than perfect foundation for me to build my training, and I knew that going in to this endeavor. However, I didn’t have a true appreciation for how unhealthy I had become over the past two years until it was too late.

Training Schedule

I used the same schedule that my coach had put together for me for the Hartford Marathon in 2006, with some minor adjustments. I figured if I could handle that schedule, then I could run my BQ time of 3:45 or better. I nailed every workout for the first 16 weeks of training. Over the last three weeks, I skipped the speed workouts and one or two other smaller mileage runs. I had been feeling so tired and rundown, that is seemed more prudent to get some extra rest and recovery than squeeze in those last few workouts.

Nutrition and Hydration

During training, I experimented with the timing of my meals prior to my long runs. I had read somewhere that the meal you had a lunch the day before a long run or race was the more important meal, so I was interested to see if that would work for me. I started having pasta for lunch and then a lighter dinner the day before the long run. I tried to apply that same logic the day before race day, however I ran into a few unanticipated problems with ‘meal management’ being away from home.

On race day, I knew there might some trouble later in the day when I made too many trips to the portalets before the race started. I was experiencing some GI issues that were usual for me on race morning. My tummy felt a little ‘off’ but I convinced myself that it was just nerves. At mile 5, I had to choke down the first Gu, forcing myself to eat it. I think I was only able to get one more Gu down, somewhere past the halfway mark; after that my stomach was not remotely interested. I should have tried to eat more, but I just couldn’t do it.

The marathon had water stops about every 2 miles, which was new for me. I have become accustomed to more frequent stops, and I use them as a reminder to drink from my Fuel Belt (Accelerade and Gatorade Endurance). It wasn’t until too late that I realized I wasn’t drinking often enough. (Even in my every day life, my hydration has been decreased overall which has had a cumulative effort).

Aftermath

Body Glide saved me from blisters on my toes and from chafing in the usual spots. It didn’t save me from the chafing in the unusual spots, like my lower back where my Fuel Belt was rubbing or my hip where my ID in my key pocket was rubbing. I earned the obligatory black toe nails – one on each foot. Although one was already black from the Hartford Half Marathon a few weeks ago. I suspect that I may be saying ‘Goodbye’ to that particular toe nail.

Rest, Recovery, and Return to the Roads

Here’s the honest truth: this was my fifth marathon, and it felt as bad as my first. I wasn’t disappointed in my finish time, but I was disappointed with how I felt. I expected to be feeling strong over the last few miles, and to be able to finish with a kick. Instead, I felt completely wrecked and it was so frustrating.

I waited four days before running again, and those four miles were tough – I was still sore and tired. I tried again two days after that, with similar results. My muscles would throb afterward and I felt tight all over. I took the hint, and took all of last week off completely. I ran 5 miles on Saturday, and it felt moderately better, but I still felt sore and achey afterwards. I was stumped.

Then I realized the ONE thing that was different. Over the winter, I took 5-6 weeks off from running and stopped using my orthotics due to an ankle injury. I never put my orthotics back in my shoes, as I seemed to be ‘fine’ without them. Could it be that simple?

I wore them for my next run on Sunday, and it was like finding my legs again. No aches or pains, during or after. Apparently, the months of training without the orthotics caught up with me on marathon day and were the last piece of the puzzle in my perfect storm.

The mileage will stay in the 25-30 miles a week from now until December. Then I’ll decide about running Boston this year, or exercising the option to run next year (that’s the bonus of qualifying in late October – you have a two year window).

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